Mussels

Mussels

Mussel, © Amadeo Bachar

At a glance

Eco-rating Mercury Omega-3s
+-Blue mussel
Best
Low

MORE ABOUT BLUE MUSSEL

Mussels are found the world over and attach themselves by byssal threads to surfaces like gravel, rocks, piers. Mussels have been farmed since the 13th century, and the blue or edible mussel has been a popular food in Europe for hundreds of years. The blue mussel is the main species farmed in the United States.

Commercial Sources

Blue mussels have a wide distribution, occurring in the Arctic, the North Atlantic and the North Pacific Oceans.

The main sources of blue mussels are Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark. Blue mussels sold in the U.S. market are primarily from the United States and Canada.

Capture Methods

Blue mussels come from coastal fisheries and shellfish farms. Wild mussels are harvested with dredges. Additional types of fishing gear include rakes and tongs; they are also handpicked. Farmed mussels are grown with suspended systems and in bottom cultures.

+-Mediterranean mussel
Best
Low

MORE ABOUT MEDITERRANEAN MUSSEL

Mussels are found the world over and attach themselves by byssal threads to surfaces like gravel, rocks, piers. The Mediterranean mussel is larger and meatier than its blue mussel relative.

Commercial Sources

Mediterranean mussels are found in the western North Atlantic, from England and Ireland to the Mediterranean Sea.

The main sources of Mediterranean mussels are Italy, Greece and France. Mediterranean mussels sold in the U.S. market are primarily from France, the Netherlands and Denmark.

Capture Methods

Mediterranean mussels come from shellfish farms. They are primarily grown with suspended mesh netting.

+-New Zealand green mussel
Best
Low

MORE ABOUT NEW ZEALAND GREEN MUSSEL

Mussels are found the world over and attach themselves by byssal threads to surfaces like gravel, rocks, piers. The green-lipped mussel from New Zealand is distinguished by its large (3-4 inches or 8-10 cm long), bright green shell.

Commercial Sources

New Zealand green mussels are endemic to, and exlusively farmed in, New Zealand.

Capture Methods

New Zealand green mussels come from shellfish farms. They are primarily grown on suspended ropes.

Recommended servings per month

Contaminant Men Women Kids 6-12 Kids 0-5
Blue mussel Mercury 4+ 4+ 4+ 4+
Mediterranean mussel Mercury 4+ 4+ 4+ 4+
New Zealand green mussel Mercury 4+ 4+ 4+ 4+
Eco details: 
  • Mussels are filter feeders that strain biological matter from the water, helping to keep it clean.
  • Most mussels are farm-raised on ropes hung in the ocean, which does little environmental harm.
  • Some farmed and wild mussels are dredged from the seafloor, which can damage the bottom.